Saturday Features

You are what you wear

Sep 2, 2017-When I reached Golgunj Village, a settlement tracing Nepal’s border with the Tibetan Plateau, it lay snug under Rasuwa’s giant hills, submerged in an afternoon fog. Then, when the cottony cover finally lifted, beautiful paved alleyways and stone houses appeared out of nowhere. Golgunj is a sparsely populated settlement that affords sweeping panoramic views like so many other mountain villages of Nepal. But once here, it is not just the mountains and the verdant hillside that catch your eye; you are also welcomed by an array of hues that the colourful Tamang community here adorns. 

These traditional Tamang bakkhus came in layers of vivid blue, red, orange, teal, pink and much more. The hats bore intricate designs perfected over centuries and both men and the women seemed to embrace their culture with pride. In Golgunj, these traditional attires are not hoarded for special occasions; it is part of the everyday.

For a city dweller like me, who is losing touch to her roots every day, the novelty of seeing a community so whole-heartedly embrace their traditions was eye-opening, to say the least. But at the same time, armed with the ‘outsider’s gaze’ and a trigger-happy DSLR, I recognise that it is easy to over-romanticise reality. If you stay in the settlement long enough, you realise that it is mostly the older generation that is clad in traditional clothes. Over the years, just like us tourists, modern fashion sensibilities have also seeped into Golgunj, and the younger generation—which is startlingly sparse in number—prefer to wear modern clothes. It makes you wonder if like so many other communities, Golgunj too will resign their traditions for a handful of special days each year, of how these vibrant hues will fare once those who charmingly uphold it are here no more. But as a city dweller like me, who is losing touch with her roots every day, it was not my place to judge. So, like the other tourists who had made to Golgunj in the fog, I walked about taking pictures to my heart’s content, thankful that I was able to experience the village while it still remained rooted. 

The road to Golgunj village in Rasuwa is mostly offroad from Syaprubesi towards the Chilime Hydropower Reservoir. 

 

It is mostly the older generation that is clad in traditional clothes

 

Golgunj at once displays the past and what the future holds.

 

Home to the Tamang community, in this village, no two attires seem alike.

 

Modern clothes like down-jackets with the traditional clothing make for an interesting twist.

 

Golgunj is a world onto itself between the mountains. 

 

After the 2015 earthquakes, some are still living in temporary shelters. 

 

Even as much of life has changed around them, Golgunj has managed to keep their identity and culture intact.

 

These traditional Tamang bakkhus come in layers of vivid blue, red, and pink among others.

Text and Photos Sabrina Dangol 

Published: 02-09-2017 10:38

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